Thursday, November 13, 2008

The Right to Be Stupid, Denied

Wall Street's still in the tank, the automakers---and everyone else, apparently---are whining for a bailout, and, closer to home, UTMB is laying off almost 4,000 workers. But never let it be said that the Houston City Council is unable to keep itself occupied in these trying times, as demonstrated by Wednesday's vote banning those giant inflatable balloon creatures that waft so delicately over car lots and some of our town's other less aesthetically pleasing commercial establishments.

Our feelings on this subject were best summed up by our president-elect when called upon to address the nagging issue of the droopy britches sported by some of today's woefully out-of-fashion youth:

"I think people passing a law against people wearing sagging pants is a waste of time. We should be focused on creating jobs, improving our schools, health care, dealing with the war in Iraq, and anybody, any public official, that is worrying about sagging pants probably needs to spend some time focusing on real problems out there."

"Having said that," he added, "brothers should pull up their pants. You are walking by your mother, your grandmother, your underwear is showing. What's wrong with that? Come on. There are some issues that we face, that you don't have to pass a law, but that doesn't mean folks can't have some sense and some respect for other people and, you know, some people might not want to see your underwear---I'm one of them."

In other words, we'd rather not have to look at your dirty drawers, young sir, but the last thing the world needs is an ordinance legislating that you hike up your pants. And while we'd rather not be distracted by your big, fug-ugly pink gorilla, Mr. Car Lot Owner (we'd rather, in fact, wing it with a pellet gun as we speed past on our way to nowhere in particular), we don't believe this is a societal failing deserving of government action.

This, after all, is Houston, a city with a long, proud history of garish commercial signage. What cruel fate might have befallen the landmark Holder's Pest Control roach in today's "Let's Turn Houston into Portland"* climate?

The council can ban all the displeasing public displays it wants, but we're afraid it can never rectify the underlying problem. Consider this: Bob Wright, owner of an establishment called Party Boy at I-10 and Studement, told the council his business increased by 20 to 30 percent whenever he hoisted one of those balloons (it was unclear whether he meant foot traffic or actual revenue). No matter how hard it tries, the Houston City Council won't be able to legislate stupidity out of existence.

*Not that there's anything particularly wrong with Portland.

1 comment:

Rorschach said...

Not that there is anything particularly RIGHT with Portland either....